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£2m Settlement For Dad Left Paralysed After Doctors Failed To Diagnose And Treat Spinal Abscess

Family Determined To Look To The Future After Settlement

08.01.2018

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A husband left paralysed after a hospital failed to diagnose and treat a spinal abscess has received a £2 million settlement.

Kevin Greenfield has been left unable to walk and completely reliant on a wheelchair after doctors performed emergency surgery to drain the abscess more than 24 hours after he was admitted to hospital.

Following the delay, the 61-year-old instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the level of care he received at Royal Derby Hospital.

Now, following lengthy investigations, Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Royal Derby, has agreed to a £2 million settlement.

The money will help Kevin move into a specially adapted home and help pay for the specialist care and aids he needs as well as compensate for him not being able to work. 

Jenna Harris is a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office representing Kevin.

Expert Opinion
Once Kevin arrived at hospital a full examination based on his symptoms and a MRI scan would have shown that his condition was deteriorating. Action could have been taken the same day to cure Kevin’s spinal infection with likelihood being he would have made a full recovery.

“For him to wait until the following day for the severity of his condition to be diagnosed was a clear breach in the duty of care he should have expected to receive.

“While no amount of money can ever compensate for the way Kevin and his family’s life has been turned upside down, we hope that the settlement will now allow them to focus on the future and help them to try and get their lives back on track as much as they can.

“We urge the NHS Trust to learn lessons from this sad case so others don’t have to suffer the pain Kevin and his family have gone through.”
Jenna Harris, Senior Associate Solicitor

Kevin lives in Tamworth, Staffordshire, with wife Helen, 53, and their three grandchildren, Kieran, nine, seven-year-old Cameron and Charlie, four. 

The former sales manager had a history of back problems and had previously attended hospital appointments about his condition.

Kevin developed back pain on 1 March, 2012. The following day he was admitted to hospital just before 4pm on the request of his GP following a home visit.

At 6.30pm Kevin was examined by a doctor who noted he was suffering from numbness from the waist down.

An observation the following morning noted he was completely numb from the waist down. He was again seen by a doctor at 3.30pm and sent for an MRI scan at 6.45pm. Kevin underwent emergency surgery at 8pm on 3 March.

Following the surgery there was then a delay in administering antibiotics which allowed the  infection to escalate; resulting in additional surgery to remove infected tissue. 

Kevin, a Coventry City fan, said: “The last five years have been a real struggle for the family as we tried to come to terms with my condition.

“Prior to the incident me and Helen led really active lives. I enjoyed cooking and did all the jobs round the house, me and Helen would often go out with friends and I enjoyed going to the football.

“Now I am unable to do simple daily tasks such as cooking as I can’t safely reach all of the appliances. Helen now has to do a lot more for me than she did before. At times it feels like she’s more my carer than my wife.

“I feel annoyed that I struggle to take part in many activities with my grandchildren. Due to my mobility issues I always have to consider the practicalities of doing any little task.

“There are good days and bad days. I’m still angry that if the hospital had taken swift steps to diagnose my condition I probably would not be in the position I am.”

Helen added: “Kevin’s paralysis has had a huge impact on so many aspects on our lives. However, as a family we’re trying to put the last five years behind us. Hopefully now we can look more to the future rather than dwell in the past and begin to feel more positive about life.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling medical negligence cases.